Inappropriate Intensive Care Unit admissions: Nigerian doctors’ perception and attitude
Background: Nonclinical factors are said to influence decisions to admit patients into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We therefore assessed the perception and attitude of Nigerian doctors working in the ICU about inappropriate admissions and request for admission in the setting of a full ICU.
Methods: An anonymous, self‑administered questionnaire survey was carried out among doctors working in the ICU of 17 University Teaching Hospitals, in Nigeria. A score of 0 (least usual reason) to 5 (most usual reason) was ascribed to some factors that can influence ICU admission. In addition, each of the 4 possible actions in the setting of a full ICU was graded from 0 (least likely) to 5 (most likely). The result was analyzed as appropriate.
Results: Sixty‑four doctors participated in the survey. Inappropriate admissions were acknowledged by 96% of respondents. Perceived reasons included pressure from superiors (93.7%), referring clinicians (89.1%), and hospital management (87.5%). If confronted with request for admission in the setting of a full ICU, respondents will arrange for the discharge of fit ICU patients to the ward (95.3%), transfer patients not receiving acute care to high dependency unit or recovery room (70.3%), or create additional ICU beds (42.2%). Chi‑square test showed a significant difference between single and married respondents with regard to clinical doubt (P = 0.01) and pressure from referring clinician (P = 0.02) as reasons for inappropriate admission. Respondents’ gender, marital status, professional activity, and number of ICU admissions per year did not affect possible steps in the setting of a full ICU.
Conclusion: Inappropriate ICU admissions were perceived as a common event and were mainly attributed to pressure from seniors, referring clinicians, and hospital management. Further work is necessary to determine the impact of such admissions on ICU efficiency.
Keywords: Intensive care, patient admission, perception, resource allocation